To Imagine Dragons and the new year

Now don’t you understand
That I’m never changing who I am

Don’t you tell me what you think that I could be
I’m the one at the sail, I’m the master of my sea

When the day has come
That I’ve lost my way around
And the seasons stop and hide beneath the ground
When the sky turns grey
And everything is screaming
I will reach inside
Just to find my heart is beating

And I know it’s hard when you’re falling down
And it’s a long way up when you hit the ground
Get up now, get up, get up now

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I had one of the most magical nights of my life last night. I watched and heard Imagine Dragons live. They were brilliant, and I have so much respect for them for the messages they choose to convey with their music.

A part of me has always resonated with the music Imagine Dragons produce.

Demons used to be the only song I’d listen to, for weeks. Till now it’s a song I listen to for therapy, when I feel the darkness inside of me trying to creep out.

Monster expresses the internal battle I’ve been waging for ages, the battle I’ve always been trying to shy away from. The need to break away from the constraints and definements of society, to become who I really feel inside, to express myself truly to the world, and the difficulties I’ve faced in doing so. The fear that people would judge me for who I am, that when I opened up to them they would despise me for my flaws.

It’s TimeOn Top of The WorldBelieverRise UpWalking the Wire and more, give me courage to finally face my fears and start afresh. They’re the songs I want to keep listening to in 2018, to remind myself of who I really am inside and who I can be – someone brave and strong, who embraces her weaknesses and fears, who always aspires to be better and to live life fully.

When Dan sang It’s Time, I felt an unbelievable surge of courage that filled me with a hope so precious and inexpressible. The line “I’m never changing who I am” struck a chord within me to stay true to who I really am, and to what my soul represents. In the last few months of 2017, I’ve been miserable. I didn’t like the person I’d become in the past year – someone who shied away from responsibility and commitments, who hid from everything she feared, who didn’t dare embrace her weaknesses and be vulnerable in front of others, who remained stagnant because of all that. I was so afraid of everything – trying anything new, committing to something I signed up for, speaking in class, meeting new people, going for a school formal dinner, even consultations with a nice professor, they all incited fear and/or dread in me. I stuck with everything comfortable, lost sight of any purpose to strive, lamented the meaninglessness of life. Where was my love for life, the joie de vivre I’d always found beautiful and wanted to embody?

I made a pact with a friend, who’d also been through a challenging 2017, to do better together in 2018. I want 2018 to be a year of change. I know it’s such a cliched thing to say, but I truly mean it from the depths of my heart. I want to remember and honour this promise I made to myself.

New year resolutions aren’t anything new to me. I’ve made them, kept to a couple of them, broken a ton of them. But I just know that this year isn’t like any other. It’s not the meaningless, frivolous “I’m going to exercise regularly and eat healthy” or “I’m going to get straight As”. It’s something so entirely different, a mindset and attitude I want to change deep within me rather than another accomplishment I want to achieve. And I’ve never felt so fucking afraid of a new year before. I’m so afraid because this time I’m really going to face the fears that have been inhibiting me from being who I want to be. Each time I think about facing the fears that I’ve wanted time and time again to overcome but always fall short of, my heart clenches and my mind just freezes for a second because it’s just so fucking terrifying. These fears have dictated my life for ages and I’ve let my comfort zone shrink so much, that now I’m more fearful than ever. It’s like I’ve been drifting on a fragmenting raft, stranded in the middle of nowhere. All the while, pieces of the raft keep falling off, yet I’ve still been helplessly awaiting someone or something to get me out of this predicament, hoping beyond measure that my own weight and the crashing waves wouldn’t disintegrate my tiny, fragile safe zone into nothing.

Amsterdam describes my situation perfectly. I’ve lied to those around me to get them to believe I’m doing okay, not wanting to let them down. I’ve sought solace in those who’re going through similar struggles; they’re the only people I can turn to, and yet we can’t help each other because we’re all knee-deep in and running away from our own fears. Even as I tell others that they’ll be okay as long as they keep pushing on, I’m not convinced because of my own failed attempts.

Your time will come if you wait for it, if you wait for it
It’s hard, believe me… I’ve tried
But I won’t wait much longer ‘cause these walls they’re crashing down
No I won’t wait much longer ‘cause these walls they’re crashing down
And I keep coming up short

But I’m done clinging on to safety. I could possibly survive staying on this raft till the end, but that’s not the life I want for myself and it’s not the person I want to be. Instead, I’m going to dive into the ocean. Whatever monsters are lurking beneath the surface, I’m going to face them and battle my way out.

I wish so badly that when I look back at this post at the end of 2018, I’ll no longer feel the fear grappling me, but rather feel proud of myself because of how far I’ve come. It still feels like a faraway dream now. But I know it’s reachable.

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P.S. I’ve added the Youtube links to the songs I mentioned above. Who knows, Imagine Dragons might be your next favourite band? 😉


A hate letter to cockroaches, the bane of my existence

Dear Cockroaches,

Is your main purpose in life to traumatise innocent human beings?

If so, then congratulations. You’ve succeeded, 101%. Because there’s no denying how I (and many fellow humans) feel about your species. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not scared. I’m disgusted. I literally have bile rising up my throat staring at your form, whether dead, alive or struggling somewhere in between.

Does your very definition of dying valiantly with honour and pride mean to die in the hands of a human being? (Actually no, I can’t even use the word hands, because no sane person can even bear to touch your revolting body with their bare hands). Whether death through Baygon, newspapers, brooms, shoes, asphyxiation… Make no mistake, I don’t want to spare extra seconds looking at your revolting form, much less to kill you nauseating creatures. But you leave me with no choice.

Really… why exactly do you even exist? Are you really that useful in the ecosystem? Even lizards and bees are useful… but you cockroaches? Really? I have my doubts.

I can’t even begin to comprehend why you unworthy imbeciles can get off so easily by being able to reproduce through laying those damn hideous eggs. YOU SHOULD NOT EVEN BE ALIVE, SO WHY IS IT SO BLOODY EASY FOR YOU GUYS TO REPRODUCE?!

Please. Stop infiltrating and feeding off my family. Stop disturbing my precious sleep by making me paranoid and driving me to spend time at 2.30am spraying Baygon at you. Stop reproducing. If you really have to, go somewhere else. Like a forest or something that no one goes to at all. And actually, stay there for the rest of your meagre lives. Get your entire family of 4000+ species to migrate there. I don’t care if you build an entire empire of 999 billion cockroaches there, as long as you don’t try to come into human territory ever again.

I’m begging you, because I’m sooo grossed out.

And annoyed.

And disgusted.





Please, have some social awareness. You’re not wanted here.

Thank you very much.


This is a hate-filled rant I wrote a few years back when I was both furious and frustrated at being terrorised by cockroaches several nights in a row. Thankfully I managed to completely get rid of them a few days later, but I recently spotted a cockroach at home (OH NO!) which made me think of this hate letter again..

Hope you had fun reading it!

The Woes of A Book Addict

Any of you feel like you’re having a perpetual hangover? Not the kind of hangover you have the morning after you drink about a gazillion shots and embarrass yourself in front of everyone you know, everyone who knows you and everyone who didn’t know you until then, but a hangover where you just can’t. Stop. Thinking. About. This. Book.

It’s 4 in the morning, you’ve been reading since 8 last night. Your head’s pounding because of your lack of sleep, you have dark circles under your eyes, and you still need to go to work or school the next day. But sleep’s the last thing on your mind. All that’s on your mind is: How could the author make him die?! What’s going to happen next?!!? I NEED TO READ THE NEXT BOOK NOW. or What in the world?! Did that just really happen?? This author is a freaking GENIUS. 

Or something. And all you want to do is go on Youtube, on Goodreads, on WordPress, on Tumblr, on Pinterest, on Instagram, on Twitter, etc., to find what went through other people’s minds when they read the book. You need to find some other kindred spirit to share all your thoughts and feelings with. They’re clawing at your brain, fighting to be let out. You’re not going to sleep well (if you even sleep), and you’re not going to function well the next day; you’re never going to until you discuss it with someone. Even after that it’s still lurking in your mind, like some sort of insidious, dark mist curling around every inch of your cerebrum and somehow finding its way to take over your every thought. The only way to escape is to pick up your next book to devour.

And devour it you do, but the book’s not the prey. You are. And the cycle repeats.

I refer to this quote from William Feather:“Finishing a good book is like leaving a good friend.”

I’d agree, except it’s too simplified. There’s no mention of the adrenaline that rushes through you and refuses to let you go to rest. There’s no mention of the emptiness, the incompleteness you feel because it’s become a part of you, and to close the book is like letting go of that. There’s no mention of the need you get every few weeks or months to read it again, and again, and again. And of the need to pick something else up to cover up the loss, and how you self-destruct over and over again in a vicious, mercilessly unending cycle.

I’ve been……… dying. I can’t stop reading book after book, every day, all single sittings, usually in the middle of the night so I have a horribly wrecked body clock where I only go to sleep sometime between 3am to 6am, and I haven’t been exercising. This has been happening for the past 8 days. I know I should develop healthier habits, but damn it, I can’t stop.

Please tell me I’m not the only one this crazy.

What Would You Do?

I discovered this TV show about a year ago and since then it has altered my views on the world and the people of this world. Back then I was addicted to watching YouTube videos on social experiments and so it was by chance that I found out about it. Immediately I began binge-watching all the What Would You Do? episodes I could find on YouTube.

What Would You Do? is (I think) a pretty popular TV show in America on ABC News. (I’m assuming it’s popular because most people who were featured in it happened to know about it, but I’m not sure since I’m no American anyway). So basically what they do is that they choose a location and a scenario, then plant some actors and hidden cameras in the chosen place and see how people react to the scenario, whether they choose to get involved and to what degree they get involved, or maybe if they just opt to stay silent or walk away. Sometimes they bring in social psychologists or other professionals to analyse the people’s behaviour as well.

They have a mountain of scenarios, some unimaginable, others unfortunately common in everyday lives, but most are painfully relatable. For example, teenagers verbally abusing a fat lady at the beach. A mom forcing her hungry child to go on a diet with just salad for lunch. A veteran unable to pay for his groceries at the supermarket. A rude customer abusing an employee with Down syndrome. A guy/girl spiking his/her girlfriend’s/boyfriend’s drink. Teens pressuring friend to take steroids. A woman taking advantage of a blind man. Placed in these situations, what would you do?

Sad to say, I have no idea. I wish I could say that Of course, if I were to witness any of these situations, I’d definitely be the one stepping up and getting involved. I wish I could say with certainty that I would be one of those good samaritans who’d willingly take out their cash to pay for someone else’s groceries, or those outspoken women who valiantly prevented the abuse of another in the face of someone bigger and stronger than them. But when I think about it, each time I was given the opportunity to do something for a stranger, simple or not, I had always hesitated. And each time, either someone else beat me to it, or I just decided not to do it after all.

So it is with admiration and awe that I watch these videos. I marvel at how these people can be so:

1. eloquent

2. compassionate

(see 2:03-3:03, 6:00-7:25 and 8:33 onwards)

(see 8:03 onwards)

3. brave

(see 4:14-6:00 compared to 13:04-14:04)


Occasionally the people who intervene end up sharing their own stories – that they’ve been through similar experiences, or know people who have been through them. Isn’t it amazing how all these people, people we merely spare a glance for when we pass them by along the pavements, can turn out to be so big-hearted (or sometimes so cold-hearted), from such diverse backgrounds, and with such deep, sometimes painful history? Too often we take one look at someone – how they dress, how they walk, how they talk, who they’re with – and think we have them figured out. But we don’t. They might be someone deeply passionate about racial equality. Someone who has struggled with accepting a gay son. Someone who went through teenage pregnancy alone. Someone who has spent majority of her life feeling unconfident about her body. Someone whose brother smoked and died from lung cancer. Someone whose child was abducted. And they all have something meaningful to share – their lessons learnt.

We never know all these until we start talking about the true issues concerning our society today, which is what I believe this show does. Watching this, I’ve realised one thing: Human beings have so much power over each other, and we don’t even realise it. Someone else’s opinion can drastically change the way you see yourself. Someone else’s shared experience can give you immeasurable comfort. Someone else’s pitiable plight could upset you and evoke strong emotions. Someone else’s manipulation and their words. Or their empathy and their hug.

It’s such a simple concept, yet one that is hard to grasp, and one that is not often utilised well. Many who understand it use them in bad ways: faking handicap to beg for more money, insulting another’s looks, putting others down. Of course there are also the good: compliments, sharing experiences, comforting touches, stepping up for someone else. But more often than not, a single insult burns more than a load of compliments can heal.

So I guess that is all the more reason to give out the ‘good’ less sparingly, isn’t it?

I hope so. And I genuinely hope people, including myself, will have more courage for the good.




(same video but watch from 10:21-11:28)

(see 5:06 onwards)

Why do people procrastinate?

I tend to place unreasoned sadness, aimlessness and unproductivity on the fact that my period is nearing.

But a quick check on Clue, the app I use to track my period, tells me that no, the curse of every female-who-has-reached-puberty-but-not-yet-menopause is not nearing, and in fact isn’t due for another two weeks or so.

I have no choice but to succumb to the truth – that I am feeling aimless because I am, indeed, at this point in my life, aimless. I have 9 months to kill before my first day of university starts. Sure, I have things to do, like university applications, scholarship applications, personal projects I gave myself (learn cooking, learn a dialect, learn graphic designing, volunteer, find a job, read, write) and tasked to me by my parents (plan for a holiday, design this room in our house). But these aren’t really things I feel like doing right now, considering I have been slaving myself off to education for the past few months (or more precisely my entire life?), yet at the same time these are things I have always wanted more time to do.

So why am I procrastinating?

Why do people procrastinate?

I have often asked myself this. Why do I procrastinate on everything, even things I’m supposedly passionate about? Why is it that everything becomes like a chore when you actually get to doing it? Why do we feel like we have so much time in the world to do the things we want and need to do? What creates this illusion? Hadn’t we started measuring time in seconds, minutes, and hours, because there wasn’t enough time to go around such that we had to count every second, minute, and hour? And why do we rush? What was the purpose of life if we didn’t enjoy it? Why do we turn life into a constant struggle, why do we create expectations, standards, obligations when there were none?

By now you can see that my thoughts often run off course. In fact, it jumps. I wonder about one thing and end up with another question about something entirely different. Sometimes I wonder if I should even post these because they’re often not about anything at all. Which brings me back to aimlessness. Which perhaps answers my final question after all. We create all these standards because we want to have an end goal in mind. We needed an aim and purpose in life. Then one thing led to another (need for purpose –> chase power & fame ->  conflicts & selfishness & calculativeness) and here we are today. In some ways an over-developed, refined and civilised world, in others still a malnourished, desperate and unbearably disparate one.

Why do I procrastinate? Perhaps because I have the privilege to do so. I have the privilege of having things to do – access to wifi and heaps of gadgets to kill my time – when I don’t want to do anything else. I have the privilege to waste my time away, because I live in an ivory tower secluded from the slums, far from the homeless and the unsheltered. I have the privilege of having food, water, education, healthcare handed to me on a silver platter, complete with a full set of cutlery. I don’t have to fight for material to stay alive, nor to receive love. I barely have to teach myself anything.

Then the guilt starts flooding in and drowns me out and now I know I have to fight to stay afloat. If not for myself, then for others.

How cruel that on a single planet, some are dying from droughts, others from flood.

Building confidence

There is nothing I admire more in a person than confidence. The kind of confidence that isn’t too overpowering and show-off, but just the kind which allows you to speak well in front of others, to be unafraid to make mistakes, to love yourself enough to tell people about both the good and bad sides of yourself.

The kind of confidence I have is faux confidence. I only gain the confidence because of external factors; it doesn’t come from myself. I only gain that confidence when people tell me that I can do something well and acknowledge that I am good. It is the kind of confidence that makes me only want to do the things I am good in, and avoid all things I am bad at. Because I want to keep remaining good in other people’s eyes, I avoid it for fear that they would change their minds, and consequently mine.

Hence it is also the kind of confidence which prevents me from being who I am and being who I could be. I am too afraid to embrace my weaknesses and show them to the world. I’ll just be really honest here and say that I seem to be a very good student in many peoples’ eyes. To my classmates and schoolmates, and to my teachers. Friends and friends of friends are always asking me how I am doing so well in school, and teachers tell me that I have so much more potential and that I should sign up for additional programmes, take up more responsibilities, things like that. But the truth is that I don’t always do that well, that I hide my struggles, and the only reason why I work hard to do well is because I don’t want people to suddenly realise that I’m not as smart as they made me out to be. And the reason why I never ever take my teachers’ offers of signing up for courses and competitions is because I’m afraid that they’d realise I’m really not good enough for such endeavours. But this is a vicious cycle because then I’d never ever get the chance to stretch myself, to just try things out and learn from experience. Unlike what some of my teachers say, it’s not that I’m complacent, or that I don’t care about these rare opportunities presented to me by others. It’s that I’m afraid. That’s how scary fear is. It stops you from truly becoming better.

Someone once asked me why I seemed so unconfident and uncertain even though I did well consistently in school. My answer was, “because that’s the only thing I’m good at”. I said that because it always felt like whenever people thought of me, the only word they used to describe me was “smart”. While it may be a good adjective to be described as, it really really sucked that that was the only trait that people knew me by. I wanted to be other things, like being kind-hearted, understanding, compassionate, generous, comfortable to be with, driven, strong-willed… Words that said something about my character, not just a word like “smart” which seemed so superficial to me. And yet because I was somewhat influenced into thinking that being smart was my only strength, I stubbornly stuck to it, unwilling to let go of the confidence people had in me in that single aspect. I was afraid that one mistake would erase all the positive impressions that people had of me. I was afraid that when people thought of me, they would only remember how I embarrassed myself when I fumbled as I spoke in front of my classmates, when I couldn’t think under everyone’s stare and gave unintellectual replies that the teacher criticised. I was afraid that once I made a mistake, that trait people thought I had would disappear, and suddenly I am nothing, not even just “smart”.

But I realise that sometimes it is the mistakes you make and how you deal with them that brings out your character. And I realise that making mistakes and being imperfect is human, that it makes people less intimidated by you and want to get to know you more beneath what you choose to show to the world. And that maybe I need to fall and rise again in order to gain confidence in myself, and rediscover that I am capable of doing things I thought I couldn’t.

I’m still working on being less afraid to make mistakes, so it may not be very fitting for me to say this, but I just want everyone to realise it with me. We are not alone in our fears. Everyone, no matter how great they may seem to you on the outside, has their own fair share of fears and insecurities. I truly believe that genuine confidence and fear are not mutually exclusive; that we can have both at the same time. Because by choosing to face the fear head on, we can build confidence. Along the way, even more fears may develop, but that is precisely how we can grow and develop our character and build resilience.

And also remember…  never ever, ever, laugh at someone or gossip about someone because they are bad at something. We always get back what we give. Especially the bad things.


Fear is fiction; black & bold it.